New Sentencing Guidelines Reduce Indiana Prison Terms

April 2, 2008

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The federal government recently reduced punishment for offenses related to crack cocaine. The change was meant to bring them more in line with penalties for powder cocaine. That's shortening sentences for federal prisoners—including some from Northwest Indiana.

Jerry Flynn represents Indiana defendants in federal court. He says the last few weeks have been very busy. Flynn says in March, he watched 48 prisoners get their sentences reduced. He says he welcomes the change.

FLYNN: I can't tell ya how many pre-sentence reports I've reviewed of people who may have distributed a small amount of crack cocaine, maybe, arguably deserved some jail time, got tied into a conspiracy under conspiracy law and ended up with a thirty year sentence.

Nationwide, federal courts reviewed more than three thousand crack-cocaine related sentences last month. Federal courts have another sixteen thousand to go.

The Bush Administration fought the changes on the grounds it would send potential drug dealers to the streets.

I'm Shawn Allee, Chicago Public Radio.